For your next job, you’ll need to have a good grasp of your skills and strengths so that you can show that value to the hiring leaders for the company that you want to be with.
Uncover your skills and strengths
First, you need to note what your skills are. Think about your current and former jobs, schooling, hobbies and other activities that could draw out what those skills are. Some categories to consider are:
People skills: coaching others, leading, listening, performance management, hosting, selling, and teaching
Data skills: research, compiling info, finance, programming, excel, reports and problem-solving
Some areas to think about to uncover your strengths.
What are you known for?
What are you the go-to person for?
What do you love doing?
What are you successful at?
There are several places that can help you identify your skills and strengths.
I recommend the book Strengthfinder 2.0. It’s not a traditional book in that you read it from cover to cover. You take an online assessment and then use the book to dive into your strengths and then increase your understanding of who you work well with and you wouldn’t work well with.
Assessment.com is a free site where you can find your strengths and skill set. Be prepared. It takes nearly 25 minutes to complete. There are paid options for this site as well.
Mindtools.com is another comprehensive site out there that identifies and maps your skills.
List out your accomplishments & build your story
Now that you’ve got your skills and strengths figured out, take some time to list out your accomplishments. These could be projects, tasks, that you are especially proud of. What are you most proud of in your job? Try to get to a list of 10 or more. They don’t all have to be monumental things. They may be simpler things you did that put a smile on your face, made you celebrate or helped someone out.
Got your list?
Perfect! The next step is to start to create stories around those accomplishments. We’ve talked about the importance of storytelling in the past. (Be the Storyteller: PTB show #124) Reference that resource to understand the story type that you want to convey with each accomplishment.
There are many acronyms that professionals use to convey a good story structure. Regardless, each story should start with your situation, what action you or your team took and what the end results were. We’ve covered this topic in the past as well. (Ace the Interview: PTB show #113)
Put those two together and you’ve got strong accomplishments that are presented clearly and in an engaging format for hiring leaders to hear.
You should have a list of 12 or so industry careers interests from our time last week. Combine that with your knowledge about your strengths and skills and you should really be getting close to finding what your job looks like. Next week we will look at your ideal environment. What does your dream company look like?
As you get older, the stress of finding a new job increases. As a high schooler or college student, there is little risk or consequences, and you typically have many options to choose from. Life gets more complex. You start a family, you buy a house, you are (hopefully) preparing for retirement. It can be easy to fall into temptation and just jump into any job that you can land that pays what you were making before or a little more.
We want to help you find not just any job, but your job. It’s out there, we just need to figure out what your interests are, what your strengths are, what the environment looks like and develop a plan. We’ll focus on your interests today.
Know your personality
It’s important that you start with your personality and interests as you look for your job. After all, your job should be about your interests, skills, and desires and not something you have to mold yourself into liking.
If you do research on personality types, you’ll find anywhere from 4 to 16 personality types listed. They typically fall under these general categories:
Introverted/Extroverted: This should be the easiest for you to identify.
Planner/Flexible: Do you love building and following a plan, or do you enjoy meeting the surprises of life? Public service professions strive in flexibility, think of nurses, firefighters, police etc. While they do train and plan, they never know what their day is going to look like. Great planners sit in areas like finance, operations, and management.
Big picture/Small details: Are you more of a visionary leader or love being in the details of the work and creation? Loving details is great for those in auditing and technology programming. Big picture and creativity work well in the arts, marketing, and business strategy.
Solo/Team: Do you like depending on yourself or love the team environment? This will help you narrow down what type of job in the industries that you pick out.
Logics/Emotions: Do you lean towards logic? These people love numbers, analytics, data and facts in making decisions. Emotional people follow their heart. They typically have a strong sense of their morals and use that to guide them.
Consistency/Variety: Do you like to work on the same things consistency and grow a deep level of knowledge and expertise or do you enjoy mixing it up on different tasks and projects?
Driver/Contributor. Some would say this category is leader/follower. We know that you can lead yourself well without having the desire to lead others. This category is still relevant though, and one I surprising struggled with a bit as I was going through the same process. Is leading others important to you? How much? Does it have to be direct leadership or can you have an impact through indirect influence? I found that I love leading people directly, but I didn’t require a number of direct reports as long as I am influencing the whole organization.
Two of the largest and most known personality profiles are Myer Briggs and DiSC. A number of companies and organizations use these two companies to better understand their people. You can find those and various free outlets online. I would suggest utilizing one. You will likely found yourself as a bit of both options in the categories above and a test can help clarify that for you.
Uncover your interests
Now that you’ve got your personality nailed down, you need to identify your interests. This means figuring out what industries you want to work in. O*NET is a site by the US Department of Labor that can help you narrow down the industries to find the best fit for you.
Step one: Find your industry
Eliminate the industries that you are totally out for you.
Pick ones that really interest you.
Identify ones that have some interest.
Step two: Find your job areas
Click on each industry that you picked and choose your top 25 areas. This will take some time to complete.
Once you drill into the industry, you can see jobs, projected growth and what the estimated job count increase will be in the coming years.
Narrow your list of 25 down to 12.
Uncovering your interests and identifying your personality are two very practical points towards finding your job. You now know what type of job role that you want based on your personality and where you want to work based on your interests. We’ll cover skills, the company profile, and your plan in the coming weeks.
If you’ve ever met someone that was very likable but you didn’t exactly know why, then you have seen charisma in action. It’s the magic essence of networking, building a following, and being well-liked. At the end of the day, people are more likely to follow the lead of those they like being around.
Charisma can certainly feel like either A) You have it or you don’t or B) You manufacture it and it’s as fake as can be. You can see examples of this on social media platforms like Instagram and tiktok.
The good news is that developing charisma is just like any other skill. It can be learned and grown if done so in the right way.
Show good presence
Perhaps the most important piece of charisma is having a good presence…and unfortunately, it’s harder than ever. The saturation of mobile phones has been a killer distraction to having great presence in the moment. Here is a great video that shows how phones distract you from being in the moment with others. The silver lining is that great presence makes you stand more than ever.
Put away your phone. Keep it in your bag or pocket so that it doesn’t tempt you. Keep it off the table at meals and in meetings.
Show great body language. (PTB Ep 186) Remember the power of your body language. Show others that you are fully engaged with them by your body. Make great eye contact and use your active listening skills to show them that you are with them.
Wear something comfortable. Clothing distractions can be the worst. Make sure that you are comfortable with what you are wearing. You don’t want to be worrying about sweat stains, smells, wondering if your zipper is up, etc while you are engaged in conversation.
Ask clarifying and follow-up questions. This shows that you are genuinely interested in the conversation. The more that the other person has the spotlight in the conversation the better.
Carry great confidence
While presence is all about paying good attention to others, confidence is all about yourself. It may require you to step out of your comfort zone a bit so that you can gain a good level of confidence in the future. Be brave and try some of these techniques.
Get your mind right. The biggest battle of confidence is in your brain. Build your self-assurance to build up your confidence. When you are confident in yourself, others will be confident in you as well.
Manage your nerves. You’ll notice that great speakers and people with high levels of charisma aren’t overwhelmed by the scale of their audience or the impact of the situation that they are in. I used to jump around get my blood going before I got on stage as a musician to get the nerves out. Utilize whatever outlet works best for you.
Become physically fit. I see this the most in my own life. When I’m working out and have trimmed down, I feel great….unstoppable even. On the flip side, when I’ve taken a break and focus more on other items, I feel my confidence take a hit.
Dress up. Dressing nice and avoiding sloppy clothes make you feel more confident and it shows others that you know what you are talking about. (Even if you don’t)
Strong body language helps here too. It can help your presence and confidence in the room.
Be endearing and warm towards others.
Your level of endearment and warmth is the final piece of the charisma puzzle.
Practice gratitude and show appreciation towards others. People see when you are being friendly and courteous to them. They appreciate it when you show grace, gratitude, and care in them.
Think of yourself as a host. Even if it’s not your event carry yourself like you are the host. It puts your actions into a very giving and friendly perspective. This mindset will also put other people at ease as you make introductions, anticipate needs etc.
Lean into the power of your voice. (EP 202) Simply smiling while you talk will go along way here. Understand what voice you are using and maximize the effort to come across as friendly. Softer, warmer tones work great.
Nail the handshake. Give a good handshake, look them the eye, smile and give thanks or appreciation as you leave the conversation.
The best leaders are confident, approachable and friendly. Build your level of charisma to put people at ease, to draw people to you and to create a lasting impression.
Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm. -Ralph Waldo Emerson
Sincere enthusiasm in what you do is both compelling and attractive to others. Your level of enthusiasm is like a magnet, the stronger it is, the more that you will draw in. Elon Musk is a great example of an enthusiastic leader. Jim Cantrell, a founding member of the Space X team, said it was Elon’s level of enthusiasm that got the space company up and going more than Musk’s intelligence and money.
So how do we show our enthusiasm in a sincere and authentic way? If real enthusiasm attracts then manufactured or fake enthusiasm pushes people away. It’s fairly easy for people to spot whether you are being true or are putting on a face. Keeping it real is all about fueling yourself with the right influencers and perspective.
It’s important to get the right fuel in the tank. Here are some tips to fill up the right way.
Focus on giving out A.R.E. (EP 200). Lee talked about how appreciation, respect, and encouragement helps your team strive. It also helps you stay in a good mindset and maintain enthusiasm in your role.
Find other enthusiastic people. Enthusiasm is contagious. Put other enthusiastic people in your life to encourage you and inspire you to maintain a high level of energy.
Stay organized. Great time management, a clean desk, and an empty inbox keep you from being distracted and overwhelmed by the day ahead.
Eat well. Healthy and nutritious food is always a good option to keep yourself mentally sharp.
Positivity lists. Making lists of things that you are thankful for or what makes you happy helps keep things in the proper perspective. My family made thankful notes every week in 2019 that we read at the end of the year.
Let go of the anchors
Several things in your life can hold back and destroy your enthusiasm. Create room for your enthusiasm to grow by clearing these things out of your life:
Drop the pessimism. The total value of pessimism is 0. Why hold on to it?
Temper sarcasm. I enjoy a good, witty sarcastic statement like the next person. Too much can lead to pessimism and a lack of energy.
Don’t be a complainer. Focus on positive thoughts and the silver lining.
Can you have too much?
I don’t think it’s possible to have too much enthusiasm. I do think, however, that it’s important to understand the temperament of the room and not come off as too over the top. Let’s say the energy of a normal circle of friends having a conversation is 5/10. There is small talk and some laughs, but nothing crazy. You come into a group at a 9/10 with super high energy and hype. It’s likely going to be offputting to some, if not all, of the people in the group.
Have your enthusiasm and harness the power if needed.
Sincere enthusiasm for life and work can attract powerful and helpful allies to your side. You can inspire others to do the impossible…. like launching your car into space. Stay positive and enthusiastic as you conquer the day.
The sudden departure of trusted and valued team members can be a shock to a leader and navigating this scenario is one of the most challenging, and often frustrating, parts of being a leader. The loss causes more work for the leader, less efficiency in the team in the interim and it takes time to adjust to a new dynamic afterward.
Sometimes you’ll be fortunate enough to have a good amount of notice to get a plan in place. These scenarios are much easier to navigate. Hopefully, you have put the one-level-up mentality to use in your environment (Training everyone one level above their current position) and you are ready to rock and roll. Today we are going to focus on the ones that leave suddenly with little to no notice.
Focus on your plan and not your emotions
This scenario can catch you off guard and I’ve seen many leaders act out in their emotions as a result. Leaders have displayed anger, disappointment, a sense of being overwhelmed, and even questioning their own leadership during this time. If you have a good relationship with the person, it’s okay to ask them why or give them an exit interview. Be sure to keep a professional demeanor about you and be willing to be okay with a weak response for the person leaving. They may not be comfortable sharing their why with you.
Focus on building your plan instead of letting your emotions get the best of you. You’ll have plenty of time in the future to reflect and make changes to your leadership and employee experience.
Lean on your team
This is where the development of your team truly pays off. Ask key team members to step up and take a temporary larger role. I would often use this opportunity to give people that had the skills and training but were unsure they wanted the next level and chance to try it out.
Reward those that do step up. For an hourly worker, the extra time is appreciated, but everyone loves little rewards like gift cards to their favorite restaurant or a little cash bonus.
Be more present
If the person was a key player on your team, then they likely had some strong relationships with co-workers. These co-workers will be struggling with the loss of a good friend and may even start doubting their own place on the team. Make sure that you are very accessible to your team so that they can talk or express any concerns that they may have.
Be an encouragement to them and spend one-on-one time with as many as you can to assure them that you value their contribution and that the team will be able to move forward.
Start hiring but be patient
Even if you are a fantastic leader and have a team full of one-level-up employees, eventually you are going to need to hire someone to take someone else’s place. Vary your search, ask current employees for referrals and don’t forget about your customers; sometimes they make great employees.
I would suggest involving some of your team in the interview process so that it helps in their development and gives you a different perspective on the candidate. This also gives the team members involved a sense of ownership in the person coming on. They don’t want their stamp of approval on someone who is not going to be a good fit for the team.
Take your time. Your team can handle the extra load better when they have a sense that you are actively looking for the right fit.
Losing a good employee and can be tough. Keep your emotions in check, let your team step up to the occasion and be there for your people. Know that this time is just temporary and use it as an opportunity to take your team to a new level.
Have you ever felt like a phony, fake or inadequate no matter how successful you really are? It’s often referred to as Imposter Syndrome. You feel like you aren’t truly good enough to be the leader, great parent or friend and once everyone figures it out, it will all be over.
You are not alone in dealing with Imposter Syndrome. Over 70% of people will deal with it at some point in their lifetime. Several very successful people have come out to discuss their own dealings of feeling like an imposter including Neil Armstrong, Tom Hanks, Emma Watson, and Maya Angelou.
Types of Imposter Syndrome
Imposter Syndrome can fall into several categories but often look something like this:
“It has to be perfect.” This person feels like they are a failure if they don’t complete a project or task perfectly. They may lead a very successful community event and feel like a failure because there was feedback on improving the parking situation. If it’s not 100/100 then it’s not good enough.
“I trick people.” These people feel like they don’t deserve the promotions, accolades, and recognition that they receive. They feel like they have fooled or deceived others into thinking they are more successful than they are and have high anxiety that they will eventually be “found out” or discovered. They may feel like they come across as more competent than they really are.
“I’m lucky.” These people attribute their success to luck or others and often downplay success altogether. They don’t feel like their hard work is successful; instead, they feel like they stumbled into success time and again.
“I should be a great juggler.” This person feels like they should be able to juggle all aspects of their life perfectly. They are extremely hard on themselves when they let a role in their life slip, (spouse, parent, friend, student, employee). They expect themselves to nail it all, all of the time.
“I’m only a winner if I win.” If this person doesn’t make the MVP list, win the award, or is recognized for their contribution, they feel like they aren’t good enough. They also see asking for help as a sign of weakness in themselves.
Your environment plays a heavy part
Imposter Syndrome is not a mental disorder; instead, it’s rooted in how we react to an environment and stimuli. Here are a few of the common environments that help push us into this space.
A new job or work environment: There is added stress in not knowing everyone or everything. You also likely won’t be executing your job at full efficiency for a while. Compound the problem by comparing yourself to your new co-workers.
Online and social settings: Comparing your real self to the best versions of others on social media or during social gatherings.
Academic: Comparing yourself to other students as far as grades, success, ease, and acceptance.
Relationships: Comparing yourself to yours or the other’s expectations in the relationship both friendly and romantic.
Identity and connections fuel the fire
Think of your environment as the wood in a fire pit. It’s just there and nothing will happen if it’s left alone. Your connections and identity are the fuel that starts the fire. Consider these connections and how they play a role in how you react in the environments above:
Overbearing partner/ overprotective parents
Depression, low self-esteem and anxiety
Gender, racial identity
How to break the cycle
You can break out of the Imposter Syndrome cycle. The first step is obviously to know that you are dealing with the issue (Self Awareness). Here are some other things you can do to lessen and potentially eliminate feeling like an imposter:
Talk it out with someone. Imposter Syndrome loves to live in isolation inside yourself. Talk out your feelings and thoughts with a trusted friend, advisor or mentor.
Be kind to yourself. I have seen some of the kindest people beat themselves up for their perceived shortcomings. Give yourself the same forgiveness that you give others and be kind to yourself. Let someone besides yourself be your worst critic.
Understand that your thoughts and situation are not unique. Remember when you run into a bout of doubt that others are likely going through the same. Know that it’s not just you and that it’s temporary then step up and do well.
Learn from failure. To our Baton Carriers that are perfectionists; It’s okay to fail. You need to fail to keep learning and growing. Use failure as a learning opportunity and move on. Don’t dwell on the failure for failure’s sake.
Go small. Focus on the smaller tasks and the accomplishments that come along with it instead of focusing on the larger issue. It can help you stay focused in a positive direction.
You are not an imposter. Understanding what Imposter Syndrome is and how your environment and connections impact your thought process will help you understand where you need to start to recover from this type of thinking. Lean into others to help you break the cycle.